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can I weld copper tubing to stainless and what material used if so?

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  • can I weld copper tubing to stainless and what material used if so?

    Making a heat exchanger to allow indirect heating with a electric element in a 15.5 gallon beer keg. Can I weld copper tubing to a stainless coupling then coupling to keg? I will use ATF fluid to transfer element heat inside the copper tubing.

  • #2
    thats a new one on me.might be able to braze it.what about a compression fitting?
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    • #3
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      • #4
        Tig in a SS threaded bung and use a copper compression fitting.

        You're not going to "weld" copper to SS. Braze maybe, but a SS fitting will give a more secure fitup.
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        • #5
          Why ATF? Is it better than other oils? What about vegetable oil?

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          • #6
            The fear I have with a compression fitting is the expansion difference of copper vs stainless going from room temp to a boil besides the soft copper becoming loose when bumped and banged while cleaning the keg. Stated braze or silver solder copper to a stainless fitting, now gives me an idea to thread the stainless fitting that was brazed to copper tubing into the stainless coupling that's welded into the keg.
            First idea was to weld a 3 1/2" x 14 1/2" thin walled stainless tube into the keg but had second thoughts on how well stainless will transfer or conduct 5 to 6,000 watts of heat without boiling the oil. With other electric heating designs the 240 volt element is in direct contact with the wort but operated on 120 volts resulting in heat energy of 1/4 of the elements rating. A rolling boil is required, can't see how 1,500 watts energy will boil 13 gallons of wort. Running 240 volts can cause scorching the wort, not good either.
            I'm open for ideas as I wish to not use propane or natural gas with burners under the boil pot.
            This is the design I have in mind but in electric.
            http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...600x600Q85.jpg

            Why ATF? I am thinking of using synthetic ATF as it has a 428*F smoke or vapor temp.

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            • #7
              I have used the 45% siver solder on the joint your speaking of.

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              • #8
                Portable Welder; thanks for the reply.
                I'll have to weld up a chamber and test on an old odd keg before cutting up
                a clean one. This way I can check for the proper wattage element.
                I'll try 3 1/2" thin wall stainless tube to see if it will transfer enough heat away from a 5 to 6,000 watt element vs copper if needed.

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                • #9
                  This is tigged with stainless wire...Edit: the top is stainless and the tube is 16ga thick, should use the copper filler I believe.

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                  • #10
                    Don't know if this will help or not. I used to work for a mason in high school. He used a special wrap around electric blanket to heat 55gal drums of water in the winter. They'd get so hot you couldn't put you hand in and not get scalded. Don't know if they'd get it to a boil but it might be worth a look.

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                    • #11
                      I already thought about the electric blanket idea (i'm an electrician) with the one we used at work heating large PVC pipe. It would not get a full keg of 13 gallons to anywhere near a boil plus it was only 120 volt not in the 4500 to 5500 watt range that requires 240 volt. Heat takes big power in watts.

                      I have been thinking about taking a keg and removing the base ring then adding a bottom section from another keg to make a 4" deep false bottom, this will hold 3.2 gallons anti-freeze with the heating element in direct contact with the anti freeze solution. This would allow for even heat transfer to the underside of the keg plus having an area of 195 sq/in for heat transfer would only be 28 watts sq/in. of heat. Way below causing scorching problems.

                      I'll have to collect a few more kegs and try this idea out to see if it will work before I waste the clean kegs I already have.
                      Has anyone welded on stainless 15.5 gallon kegs and how thick are they?
                      The 5 gallon stainless kegs used for soda drinks are 21 gauge.

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